Statin treatment and the risk of recurrent pulmonary embolism

AIMS: Patients with idiopathic venous thromboembolism (VTE) have a high recurrence risk during and after stopping anticoagulant treatment. Several studies suggest that treatment with statins reduces the incidence of a first episode of VTE, but dataon the effects in patients with a previous episode are lacking. We examined the effect of statin therapy on the risk of recurrent pulmonary embolism (PE). METHODS AND RESULTS: Using the PHARMO Record Linkage System, a Dutch population-based registry of pharmacy records linked with hospital discharge records, patients hospitalized with an acute episode of PE were identified between 1998 and 2008. Prescription-based use of statins and vitamin K antagonist (VKA) were identified starting at hospital discharge and during follow-up. The association between statin use (time-varying) and the incidence of recurrences, cardiovascular events, and death was assessed using Cox regression analysis. The mean (standard deviation) age was 61 (17) years. The median (range) duration of VKA treatment after acute PE was 199 (45-3793) days. Twenty-four per cent of the patients (n = 737) had at least one prescription of statins during the follow-up period and the median duration of statin therapy was 1557 (5-4055) days. During a median follow-up of 1529 (1-4155) days, 285 (9.2%) patients experienced a recurrence. Treatment with statins was associated with a reduced risk of recurrent PE [adjusted hazard ratio (HR) 0.50, 95% CI: 0.36-0.70], both during and after stopping VKAtreatment. A dose-response relationship was shown for potency, with the largest reduction in those with the most potent statins. Finally, statin treatment also reduced the risk for cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality. CONCLUSION: Statin treatment decreases the risk of recurrent PE, irrespective of VKA treatment. Treatment with statins may be an attractive alternative for anticoagulant treatment in the long-term treatment of PE.

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